It's taken me a really long time to get my head around this concept. It's a bit of doozy.
This is not meant to hurt or offend; that is never my intention.
But, here it goes.
Do you ever wonder why the people of the world don't donate to any causes in North America?
(Aside from the fact that Caucasians fucked everyone over, I know.)
I mean, seriously. We have a LOT of problems over here. In the US alone, HALF (50%) of the population is living below the poverty line, and about 20-30% are statistically homeless. 1.6 million children, each year, live in the streets. Most of our crops are picked by underage workers for less than minimum wage, and no, not 'immigrant' children - American born and raised children, trying to support their families.
For every one homeless person, there are about 23 empty homes in America.
The economy is going to Hell.
We have people working for much less than they deserve over here, in sweat shop like conditions, whether you realize it or not (I read something about American Apparel having underpaid their workers substantially in the production of their clothes).
And, let's not forget about that massive oil spill in the Gulf. Like, that sure as shit didn't just go away. What about things on the Pacific Coast? Have you ever heard of the trash island?
There are MANY children in North America who are not able to go to school; they start working young and drop out to help their families. There are also plenty of kids who aren't going to go to college or university, not with the staggering interest rates on student loans and the jacked up tuition expenses.
Where is our funding? Where are our charities?
You're probably thinking... where is this going? Those people NEED our help, and you're being a massive ignoramus right now. There are kids starving in [insert name here], and there are young girls who aren't allowed to go to school because they have to take care of their families, or they got knocked up young, or they're sick, or those children have to work for pennies a day, or they transport illegal drugs, or they are sold into the sex trade, or etc etc etc.
All of those things are incredibly true; all of those things are happening right now.
Here, there, and everywhere, I'm afraid.
But, why is it that only here, in North America, are we told that these 'less fortunate' people NEED our help? It's not as if everyone in the great continent of Africa is suffering from these kinds of conditions. There are some very wealthy people in Africa, so why are they donating to the homeless kids of America fund?
There are some extremely rich people in Asia, so why aren't they helping out the homeless Americans charity?
Here is where the White Savior Complex kicks in.
Since those problems exist virtually all over the world, the multiple other countries of the world care only about their problems - not everyone else. Because that's what they should do; they realize there is a problem, and they're doing their best to control in within their own borders, because they would like to maintain a dignified, careful approach to sorting out their own issues, because that's what you do when you have an issue.
If it's a big one, you are gentle with it, so it doesn't blow up in your face.
Like, oh, child soldiers in Uganda? Let's just take out their supposed leader, because that will definitely solve the problem! - instead of pissing off all of his army, a bunch of brainwashed, manipulate kids who WILL come after you, since that's what they've been trained.
Could you imagine?
And then there is North America, or any other 'developed' region, really, who sees all these sad commercials about kids in need of all these things that we have, that they don't, and we feel obligated to help them because they NEED us. So then, said American sees a homeless man on the street and looks the other way - even though it's NO DIFFERENT.
I'm not saying this is the case for everyone, but the majority, definitely.
These people do not NEED us. They do not need our military, our money, or our input, whatsoever. To assume that they rely on us in completely absurd. Maybe you should consider how the conditions of their country got to be so bad; you might be surprised to find a lot of the times, probably 8/10 times actually, that it was due to North Americans implementing all their shitty culture and rules onto them.
OR, you will find that conditions are not even as bad as they look on TV (what do you fucking know?).
Maybe those people, whichever group of people you want to talk about, have less than us - but they are sure as a Hell a lot more happier than us, and I bet a lot of people who have worked in said communities or volunteered there can attest to that.
I have friends who spent time in an orphanage in Kenya. There were no plasma TVs, or gaming consoles, or laptops, or iPhones - but there were games, and laughter, and books. All of the kids were happy and loving. There was such a wonderful, positive energy in the building. Why don't you hear about that on those sappy commercials?
They play it up to take advantage of your complex.
Those people do not NEED you. You know who needs you? The citizens of your own nation! Why don't you focus on local charities, or volunteering in a nearby shelter or food bank? I'm not saying donating money isn't a bad thing - because sometimes, IT IS NECESSARY. In the case of a natural disaster, IT IS COMPLETELY FUCKING NECESSARY.
Hurricanes, mudslides, floods, fires, tornadoes! Those are people in NEED, and those kind of disasters happen anywhere, at anytime (well, unless you've heard of HAARP...). I completely support giving money to help rebuild communities struck by nature.
But seriously. Africa is handling things; Asia is handling things. Wherever else you can think of, they've got it together, I'm sure, or they're working on it and would appreciate it if you would pull your nose out of there.
What's that? You still want to help?
Why don't you research charities that give straight to orphanages or communities? Instead of donating straight to, I don't know, say... INVISIBLE CHILDREN, or AFRICOM, why don't you try to find a more humble, less militant operation that works with the people, instead of trying to work over them, thus working against them?
Also, try researching HOW and WHY a certain 'developing' or 'third world' country came to be in such a state. I'm sure you'll be in for a pleasant surprise.
Maybe try researching wars, genocides, bombings, etc.
Edit: I wouldn't add this in if it weren't completely true. You should try going vegan, or at least limiting your meat, dairy, and egg consumption. Feeding billions of animals each year takes up a LOT of fucking resources, as you can imagine. Going vegan decreases that. The grains that are refined and used as feed for livestock can be used to send to different communities as food. Also, going vegan will cut down your consumption of fresh water consumed and land/soil used, not to mention it will decrease your greenhouse gas emissions and your overall carbon footprint. It's not only ethical, but it's incredibly environmental, and will help out said 'developing' countries if you still feel like it's your obligation to help.
Become aware; that is the first and most important thing to do if you truly want to help. Don't go out and buy a pair of Tom's shoes because it sounds good; you know what they say, it's often too good to be true (and IT IS!). Find operations that work WITH the people, and in turn, WITH the community.
But back to the very basics, do NOT assume these people need your help. Do NOT assume that just because they don't have something you do, that you are better off. Do NOT assume, in general. DO your research. DO help out local charities, and volunteer in your own community. DO recognize that these kinds of things are happening ALL over the world, even in your city. DO remember that these are people, just like you, just like me; they have ambitions, goals, dreams, and talents, just like we all do. Stop pitying them.
If you're really feeling bold, maybe you should ask yourself why you aren't seeing commercials of real-life America being played. Why don't you see the homeless war veterans on TV, or the current soldiers who are trying to refuse to go to Afghanistan/Iraq and thus, being served with court papers? Why don't we hear about the child laborers, or the poor factory conditions, or the collapsing economy, or the shrinking job market, or the fluoride poisoning our water supply, and the toxic chemicals in our food, or the forests and land being cut down in order to accommodate for the billions of animals we slaughter each year for food?
If you really want to help, ask yourself what is going on the world.
I do believe that it is our moral obligation to leave the world a better place than how we found it. I do believe in being a part of a solution. The first step is waking up, and making that decision for yourself.